Runner-Up: I wasn’t a fan of “True Detective”‘s third season overall, but the final episode (resolving the mystery…without the main detective knowing it) was excellent. Mahershala Ali’s dementia-suffering detective having a flashback to where he disappeared into the Vietnamese jungle is one of my favorite shots of the year.
10. Walton Goggins and Edi Patterson singing “Misbehavin'” on “The Righteous Gemstones” …Uncle Baby Billy and insane Judy Gemstone nailed the cornball Country song so well, I couldn’t stop smiling at this delirious sendup of faux-folksy ballads.
9. “When the Yogurt Took Over” on “Love, Death, & Robot” …Favorite episodes of this Netflix anthology will vary wildly, but I enjoyed this witty short about sentient yogurt the most.
8. “The Terror” season 2 premiere …Even though the second season of AMC’s anthology chiller isn’t anywhere near as good as the first one, the season premiere at least held a lot of promise. In it, we meet a terrifying ghost who can compel people to kill themselves, and the just as scary mood of the country towards Japanese-Americans, who would soon be locked up in internment camps.
7. “Veep” series finale …Selina Meyer went out as she lived: doing literally anything to become President, committing high treason, screwing over her loyal manservant Gary, and even making the repulsive Jonah Ryan her own Vice President. This is the first TV comedy I’ve ever seen pull a “Breaking Bad” and make a villain out of its lead character.
6. “Mindhunter” interviews Charles Manson …Season 2 of Netflix’s “Mindhunter” spent so much time looking for the Atlanta child killer that patient fans might’ve wished we’d seen more of the interviews that made season 1 so memorable. The best of season 2’s was a wild interrogation of Charles Manson, who never actually killed anyone. [I also loved a scene in the second episode where Bill meets a terrified former victim of the BTK killer, one of the very few to survive their encounter.]
5. “Crashing” Series Finale …Season 3’s finale wasn’t supposed to be the final episode, but you can hardly blame HBO executives for thinking that was the best stopping place. After getting dissed by his stand-up hero John Mulaney several times over the series’s run, he finally gets the comedic respect that has eluded him.
4. “On Becoming a God in Central Florida” pilot episode …Although the first season needed to be a couple of episodes shorter, the first episode is nearly perfect–containing a surprising plot twist, a great central character, and a pitch-perfect analysis of the type of fraud that appears to be engulfing America to the point of cult-like defense of that fraud. [Those who doubt the Amway-esque scheme are “negative influences.”]
3. “Mr. Robot”‘s Near-dialogue free episode “Method Not Allowed” …There were several fantastic, innovative episodes of “Mr. Robot”‘s final season, but this is my personal favorite, showing just how little exposition is necessary in capable hands.
2. “Primal” first episode …A near-silent series about the partnership between a caveman whose family is murdered and a meat-eating dinosaur who suffered the same fate doesn’t sound possible, and then you watch this stunning pilot episode.
Best TV Episode of the Year: “The Long Night” …Sure, “Game of Thrones” royally let us down in the home stretch, but the final season delivered one last perfect episode in “The Long Night,” where we finally see what The Night King’s got. It was almost too intense to watch when it first came on, and don’t let the back-half of the season’s lack of quality dilute that first feeling you had while watching the year’s most riveting, epic television event.